How good are girls?

Girls at Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) schools achieve a disproportionately large share of the top grades in Sciences, Maths and Languages and are propping up these key subjects nationally, according to the Independent School Council’s Head of Research, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart.

Girls at GSA schools are 75% more likely to take Maths A-level, 70% more likely to take Chemistry, two and a half times as likely to take Physics and are over twice as likely to take most languages.

The research, looking at the performance of girls at GSA schools, will be presented by Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Head of Research for the Independent Schools Council, on Wednesday 20 November, at the annual conference of the Girls’ Schools Association in Newcastle upon Tyne.

In 2012, there were slightly over seven and a half thousand girls at GSA schools taking A-levels, (5.2% of all girls taking A-levels nationally), but 21.6% of GSA entries were awarded an A*, as opposed to just 7.9% of entries doing so nationally.

The research will show that girls at GSA schools punch above their weight, particularly in STEM subjects and * Modern Foreign Languages*.
Bucking national trends, over 55% of girls at GSA schools take a STEM subject at A-level. Just under two fifths take Maths and just over two fifths take at least one science, with a quarter of girls taking at least one language A-level.

  • In Physics, 13.4% of all entries from girls come from GSA schools, (above the 5.2% baseline), but they are awarded 25.9% of the A*s and 20.5% of the A or A* grades.
  • In Chemistry, girls at GSA schools comprise 8.9% of entries, but they are awarded 19.8% of the A* s and 15.4% of A or A* grades.
  • In Further Maths, girls at GSA schools comprise 15.9% of the entries, but they are awarded 24.7% of the A* grades and 20.1% of the A or A*s.
    And it’s the same story in other key subjects, such as French, where the percentage of entries from GSA schools is 12.2%, but they are awarded 31.7% of the A* grades and 21.1% of the A or A*s.


Rudolf Eliott Lockhart said:

” This underlines how important GSA schools are to the national picture. About 1 in 20 girls taking A-levels are at GSA schools, but about 1 in 4 of the Physics A* grades go to them. It’s an astonishing performance.
“Girls’ schools can quite rightly be very proud of these figures. GSA schools, though relatively small in number, are preparing a disproportionately large number of girls to be the scientists, engineers and linguists of the future.”

GSA President, Hilary French, said:

“In a girls’ school, the pressure to opt for the subjects which are perceived as more ‘feminine’ just doesn’t exist and so the potentially talented female scientists, mathematicians and linguists are able to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential.”

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